LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — On a night when the city of Los Angeles and Lakers fans around the world will celebrate the career of Kobe Bryant, the man who coached him to all five of his NBA titles won’t be in the building.
Phil Jackson will not be in attendance Monday night when Bryant’s “8” & “24” jerseys will be hung in the Staples Center at halftime of the Lakers-Warriors game, according to reports.
Jackson was “unable to travel from his Montana home for the ceremony in Los Angeles”, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
Earlier Monday morning, Jackson tweeted his congratulations to Bryant.
Bryant will become the 10th player in Lakers history to have his jersey retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Shaquille O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52).
“As a kid growing up in Italy, I always dreamed of my jersey hanging in the Lakers rafters, but I certainly never imagined two of them,” said Bryant in September after the Lakers announced his numbers would be retired.
While Bryant started his career in 1996 by wearing number 8, he switched to number 24 after the 2005-06 season, one year after the Lakers traded away Shaquille O’Neal after a long-simmering feud between the two superstars.
He gave a brief but telling analysis of what he sees as the difference between the two jerseys – and the two versions of Bryant they represent.
O’Neal is among several Laker and NBA luminaries expected to be in attendance for Monday night’s ceremony.
A street festival dubbed Kobeland will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Chick Hearn Court at L.A. Live in honor of the retirement ceremony, and will feature a Bryant-inspired Ferris wheel, a basketball shootout, photo opportunities, branded merchandise and a live DJ.
Admission is free and open to the public.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)